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Thread: Of Loyalty and Glory: The Decendents of Charlemagne

  1. #1

    Of Loyalty and Glory: The Decendents of Charlemagne

    Hello everyone! In my main CK game, the one I'm making my Nubian AAR about (see link in my sig), I'm currently decades ahead in game time and weeks ahead in written updates. I don't want to keep getting farther ahead. I also don't want to stop playing CK. Leading to this:

    This is an AAR based on my secondary CK game. It will not have regular updates, as I will just be playing the game when I get the urge and it's not practical to play my Nubian game. I'll also be changing the style and going with a history book format, just to shake things up a bit.

    A little background to the game. I was trying to think of something I hadn't played much and realized that every French game I started I had made a rush for Burgundy, so I figured, why not play a French game where I stay French. So I looked for a French count to play in 1066 and found Vermandois. I had already started playing when I discovered the Charlemagne connection, so it was an added bonus.

    The main goal I have in this game is to be the best vassal I can be. I won't be seeking a king title, and unless something drastic happens in-game, I'll be loyal to France the whole time. So I'll be successful if I can keep the French kings strong. I've never tried something like this before and I'm curious to see how it will work out.

    Oh, and I used the "Die" cheat to get rid of Herbert at the start of the game, because I wanted to start fresh with a new count.

    Well enough of me talking, onto the history books...
    Last edited by Eron12; 02-01-2010 at 13:57.
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  2. #2
    Of Loyalty and Glory
    The Descendents of Charlemagne








    Chapter I:
    Eudes, Count of Vermandois, the Early Years: 1066-85

    Called the “Rock of France” Eudes de Vermandois had one of the most interesting lives of any minor noble in European history. During his long life he experienced cycles of good fortune followed quickly by devastating tradigy. Perhaps no man has worked so hard to create potential opportunities for his family only to have circumstances conspire to dash his hopes. Despite constantly having to work against fate, Eudes managed to improve his place in the world, and by the end of his life had moved his family to the next level of the aristocracy.





    (Eudes de Vermandois in later life)


    Eudes’ father, Herbert, ruled the County of Vermandois for over thirty years. Since Vermandois was adjacent to the Ile de France and Paris, then the French capital, Herbert was a common face at court. As Eudes was only two years older than Philip I, who became king of France in 1060, Herbert made sure he was often a companion of the young royal. This led to a development of a lifelong relationship, though it cannot truly be called a friendship. Though Philip always appreacated Eudes, at times he was overly demanding and cold towards the count. For his part, Eudes was devoted to the king, providing loyal service through some of the darkest times in French history.






    (France in 1066. The County of Vermandois is in dark blue)


    After celebrating Christmas in 1066, Herbert organized a hunting trip the next morning. Unfortunately for the well beloved count, his horse spooked, throwing him from the saddle. In extreme pain, the count was carried back to his fort where he finally expired late that night, leaving young Eudes as the new count.

    The most notable thing about the young Eudes was his voracious libido, a trait that would stick with him throughout his life. Within the next two years he had three acknowledged bastards, with no way of knowing how many more may have been sired. His sexual exploits only slackened in the months before his engagement, and resumed full force after his marriage.

    This marriage to Agnes de Aquitaine, eldest daughter of the Duke of Poitou, was the first great diplomatic coup of Eudes’ life. The Duke of Poitou was the most powerful vassal in the realm, controlling the western third of France. He had no sons, only three daughters. Unless he produced a male heir, a grandson through one of his daughters would inherit the Duchy. Eudes’ son would be first in line. Quite an improvement for a mere count of a single province. Hopes soared when Agnes became pregnant.

    Agnes gave birth to a girl, named Ermengarde. Eudes hopes for social advancement were shattered when Agnes died in childbirth in 1071. The grieving count soon remarried. Arsinde de Rennes was a widow with several children who proved to be an able mother and countess. After producing several daughters with Eudes she finally bore him a son and heir Louis. A second son, Charles, was born a few years later.

    From the start of his rule, Eudes was keen on improving his territory, and poured time and gold into project after project. It could be considered his major passion as a ruler, and during the periods when Arsinde administered his territory, she continued in the same vein. Eudes oversaw the creations of forestries, as well as sawmills to deal with their bounty. He set up centers of justice, and when war began to visit France, organized training centers for local levies. He was one of the pioneers of fortification improvement, imitating Paris’ stone keep. He left his territory in a prosperous and developed state, which would benefit it in the years to come.




    (The addition of Amiens and Vexen in dark blue, to Vermandois, blue)


    In 1076, France went to war with the Principality of Kappadokia. That same year Eudes’ maternal grandfather, Raoul de Valois, died, leaving Eudes the counties of Amiens and Vexen. Eudes was no the head of two noble families, and a large number of de Valois moved into the keep at Vermandois. With these new arrivals, his own de Vermandois relations, and his wife’s family Eudes would forge a series of family alliances throughout the region.

    The Pope had declared a Crusade to liberate the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Kingdom of the Fatimids. In 1081, King Philip took up the cross and summoned his vassals to arms. Eudes enthusiastically supported his king, publicly taking the cross after mass at the Reims Cathedral. He marched with his entire force to the southern coast before sailing to Palestine.

    Eudes would spend the next five years on campaign. While he was gone Arsinde rules in his absence, building castles in the newly acquired territories. Some scholars have argued that she should recive credit for the diplomatic successes of Vermandois during this period. Marriages linked Eudes with the Duke of Champagne, and the Counts of Shrewsbury, Sussex, Bearn, Orleans and Chester. An alliance with Scotland was formalized in 1084. However, the greatest success during the period clearly belongs to Eudes. His loyalty and years of friendship, combined with his service in distant lands, promted Philip to arrange a marriage between Eudes’ daughter Ermengarde and Guillarme, the Dolphin of France. Uniting his family with the royal line was the happiest moment of Eudes’ life.

    The combined forces of the crusaders shattered the Fatamid forces, prompting revolts throughout the kingdom. By the time France made peace and Philip headed for home the kingdom a shadow of itself, though Jerusalem was still in the Muslim hands of the Emir of Jerusalem. It would fall to the Holy Roman Empire a few years after the French left.





    (The former Kingdom of the Fatimids, 1085. Groups include the Fatimids, light green; English, red; French, Blue; Nubia, dark green; and rebel emirates, gray, dark grey, brown, and dark red)
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  3. #3
    Mad Clansman Farquharson's Avatar
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    Sounds intriguing. Will you at least be looking to become a Duke? I'm trying to imagine what a measly Count could actually do to keep the French kings strong, and I'm not coming up with a lot! I'll definitely be following.
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    Eron12, I like your AAR style and look forward to reading more on this one....

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    General gabor's Avatar
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    great read! i like your concept and attitude, the Aquitaine move was a bit gamey but you weren't lucky and lived with it
    3 provs seem a solid base to help the king keep France strong

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Farquharson View Post
    Sounds intriguing. Will you at least be looking to become a Duke? I'm trying to imagine what a measly Count could actually do to keep the French kings strong, and I'm not coming up with a lot! I'll definitely be following.
    Don't worry, becoming a duke is high on my priority list. I just wanted to be able to work my way up.

    Although you know, I do find being a count rather relaxing. In my Nubia game it's all about fighting wars, expanding the kingdom, keeping the vassals in line. It was nice to spend years just accumulating money and building things without threat of annialation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fookison View Post
    Eron12, I like your AAR style and look forward to reading more on this one....
    Well thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    great read! i like your concept and attitude, the Aquitaine move was a bit gamey but you weren't lucky and lived with it
    Gamey? Sir I must protest Someone was going to end up marrying her and likely passing on the Duchy to his son. Better me than some worthless count's brother or bastard child. Would you call Henry II gamey?

    3 provs seem a solid base to help the king keep France strong
    You would think so, but...
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    Great start to your AAR, I will be reading

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    I might as well as subscribe.

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    Subscribed.
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  10. #10
    Also subscribed. This has a lot of potential.
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  11. #11
    Of Loyalty and Glory
    The Descendents of Charlemagne








    Chapter II:
    Eudes, Count of Vermandois, the Later Years: 1085-1102


    A major change could be observed at the court in the years after the Crusade. Philippe was colder to his vassals and tended to lord his position over them. Eudes especially felt this change. After the Crusade he was the only vassal of Philip who was a count, and despite his years of loyal service, Philip refused to elevate him to duke. Eudes took this hard, but remained silently supportive of his liege. Other vassals were not so understanding.

    Scotland called upon Vermandois to honor its alliance in 1086, when it was attacked by both England and Norway. Though wishing to be supportive of his ally, Eudes was concerned his involvement would drag France into a large war, and he did not want to do that to the king. The breaking of the alliance did not diminish Eudes’ reputation, and a few years later he signed agreements with both Norway and England.

    By then Eudes was concerned with issues on the domestic front. In February of 1088, the Duke of Toulouse rose in revolt, beginning the First French Civil War. Within a year and a half the Dukes of Orleans, Poitou and Champagne had joined the rebellion.





    (France 1090. Note that Vermandois, dark blue, is part of France, blue)


    Philip immediately called for his loyal vassals, and as always, Eudes was foremost among them. For years the count was abroad in the saddle, fighting to presurve the French kingdom. However as the years passed, the situation continued to deteriorate. While some Toulousian territory was recaptured, Bourgogne joined the opposition. By 1095 the situation had stalemated, with fighting reduced to raiding parties across boarders.





    (France 1095. Note that Vermandois, dark blue, is part of France, blue)



    During all this time Eudes served in the company of the king, never having command of his own detachment. Even though he could see the situation was hopeless, he was powerless to make Philip see reason. The king staunchly refused to make peace with the rebels. Eudes had spent a decade in the field away from home before the king made him the commander of a single regiment as an independent detachment.

    Eudes quickly marched into Reims, confronting the treacherous Archbishop of Francia. Quickly defeating the rebellious cleric in the field, the count settled in for a siege. A second battle was fought when mercenaries hired by the bishop arriaved to break the siege. After a long and bloody battle, Eudes was defeated but undaunted. He returned home, raised a new army and marched on Reims a second time. The mercenaries fled before this new force, and the Archbishop was forced from his fort. In exchange for his life he abandoned his title and gave his territory to Eudes. In recognition of his accomplishments, Eudes proclaimed himself Duke of Francia. While this was done without royal support, the king quickly approved the action. Eudes was the most loyal vassal of Philip and the only vassal to not have rebelled during the civil war.




    (1099: Reims is added to the new Duchy of Francia)


    Eudes’ daring attack brought wider diplomatic consequences. The first major fighting in five years shocked the opponents out of their stalemate and finally brought Philip to the bargaining table. This led to the Treaty of 1099, which confirmed the independence of all the rebel lords.

    Sadly the peace was short lived, as an alliance of Poitou and Bourgogne launched an attack in the fall. The ever loyal Eudes rushed to aid his lord, meaning he was absent when enemy armies appeared to burn his fields and overwhelm his keeps. The price of loyalty was turning Reims over to the Duke of Bourgogne.

    The loss of territory didn’t stop Eudes, who continued fighting for Philip. He laid siege to the Ile de France, which had been occupied by rebel forces for years. Here on November 25, 1102, the brave count died while leading an assault on the city walls.

    For his steadfast loyalty and courage Eudes is well deserving of his title, “the Rock of France.” He has been described as the ideal follower and servant. Yet those who focus solely on his service lose sight of his leadership skills. While he was not often given the chance to show them in battle, he constantly demonstrated them as an administrator. His management and improvement created some of the most advanced provinces in northern France, and these along with a tradition of loyalty, would be his legacy.
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  12. #12
    Patron Saint of Suenik Iain Wilson's Avatar
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    Great update. Eudes certainly seemed to be a good loyal subject who has done a grand job of building a solid base for his descendants to work from.

    Who's next in line to the throne?
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    Intersting AAR so far. I like the approach of remaining a loyal count for so long. I wonder what will happen if Philip Capet loses the crown of France - what then for the new Duke of Francia? And will the new Duke be as capable as his father?
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    it seems Eudes left his heir the realm almost as big as the King's demesne; will the next in line be so unwaveringly loyal too? and help the King pick up the pieces? Isn't picking them up for himself tempting?

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    With Eudes in control of Reims, it might be time to renew his ancient claim on the throne, and get himself anointed

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    Kings tend to be fools.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by enewald View Post
    kings tend to be fools.
    +1.
    Last edited by AllmyJames; 21-01-2010 at 23:29.
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  18. #18
    Of Loyalty and Glory
    The Descendents of Charlemagne








    Chapter III:
    Louis, 2nd Duke of Francia: 1102-18

    Louis de Vermandois, known to history as the Whip of France due to punishing the enemies of his king, inheritied his father at a dangerous time. Francia had recently lost a war, and a quarter of its territory. When Eudes died, he left an army still in the middle of a siege. Louis, in Vexen when he learned of his father’s death, traveled quickly to King Philip in Foix and convinced him to make peace. Louis would use the next year to consolidate his position and make plans for the future.




    Louis de Vermandois




    Louis’ first wife, Melisande de Cornouille, had died young after giving Louis one son, Aimery, born in 1096. He quickly married a German, Fressend de Bohun. Soon after he became Duke, Louis’ former brother in law, the Duke of Brittany, came with an offer of alliance. The young Duke gratefully accepted, starting a complicated relationship between Francia and Brittany.

    By 1103, Louis was confident enough to start a drive to punish the disloyal vassals who had abandoned France and started the civil war. The Archbishop of Orleans was the first to feel his wrath. In a short campaign he recived the cleric’s surrender, and added Bourges to Francia. The rebuilding of France had begun.

    The next year the French crown faced its last serious peril of the First French Civil War. The Count of Narbonne, Philip’s last remaining vassal besides Louis rebelled and marched on the French capital. Though Louis hurried to his king’s rescue, the miles between Amiens and Foix are long. Philip fled to Orleans, making it the fourth French capital in fifteen years. When Louis did arrive, his forces quickly drove the count from the field. After a short siege and manhunt, the count was brought before Louis and agreed to turn over his land. Louis gained both Narbonne and Foix, which he assumed control of in the name of the king. Philip was happy to stay in the safety of Orleans and let his fiery vassal control the south.

    Two years later Louis fought his only unsuccessful war of punishment. Though Francia had doubled in size, the Duchy of Bourgogne was still too powerful for Louis to defeat. After a series of bloody defeats, an ailing Philip was able to negotiate a treaty between the two dukes.






    France 1107: Philip’s land (dark blue), Francia (blue), annexed by Francia 1103 (red), annexed by Francia 1104 (aqua green).





    The year 1107 has long been recognized as a milestone in French history. Philip, doomed to be forever remembered as a failure, died, leaving the throne to his eleven year old grandson, Piere I. Louis quickly swore fealty to his young nephew, and he was not the only one. Advisors of the new king quickly talked to former vassals, soothing old wounds. The Dukes of Anjou and Bourgogne rejoined the kingdom less than a month after the coronation.

    The young king wanted to prove his mettle, and declared war on the Duke of Brittany. Though Louis was friendly towards the duke, he did not hesitate to answer Piere’s call. Louis would spend the next two years in the field, before his units were allowed to return home. During that time his Fressend died, widowing the duke for a second time.

    Finally Louis was able to turn to his own affairs. The campaign in Brittany, while not changing any boarders, had brought prestige to the kingdom and Poitou had returned to the fold. Louis married for a third time, to Margaret de Courseulle. She soon gave birth to another son, Thierry. Louis also had the time to arrange a marriage for Aimery to Irmagard Billung.

    In 1113, Louis made a famous speech to the nobles of France. Pointing out that every rebel has rejoined the kingdom, accept the Duke of Flanders, he asked why none of the great lords had forced Flanders to come home. Receiving nothing but silence he declared that he would go forth and punish Flanders for his role in the civil war.

    Where Francia led, the rest of France followed. Louis drove deep into Flanders, meeting little resistance. After a short siege at Brugge, he demanded control of the city, which he knew to be a major trade center. The duke quickly agreed. It was then Louis discovered that the city was suffering from multiple plagues. He quickly returned to Amiens, leaving Flanders to French armies. The duke was forced to give up his land and titles, and Piere ruled an undivided France for the first time in twenty-five years.






    France 1115: Piere’s land (dark blue), Francia 1107 (blue), Returning vassals 1107-13 (pale blue), annexed by Francia 1113 (aqua green), and annexed by France 1113 (sky blue)


    The next year Louis burred his third wife. Still grieving he joined France’s war against Muslims who had invaded Denmark. For two years the French fought in the cold north, liberating several provinces from heathen control. As always Louis proved to be loyal servant throughout.

    Louis returned home where he died peacefully in 1118 at the age of forty-three. While he might not have been an exceptional ruler, in his sixteen years as duke he more than doubled his territory. He continued the de Vermandois tradition of loyalty supporting the kings of France, and saw his nephew become king. And, though he died realativly young, he left a stable duchy to his son.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eron12 View Post
    The next year the French crown faced its last serious peril of the First French Civil War. The Count of Narbonne, Philip’s last remaining vassal besides Louis rebelled and marched on the French capital.
    So Philippe ended his civil war by having no other vassals left? That's one way to do it I suppose.

    Well done Louis for rebuilding the kingdom. I don't know whether the 'mayor of Orleans' really deserves such a capable vassal though...
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  20. #20
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    +1 for Louis!! Thanks for the update Eron12!

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